China - Country Commercial Guide
Environmental Technology
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China is the largest emerging market in the world for environmental technology products, with an average annual compound growth rate of 14.1% from 2016 to 2020.  The operating income of China’s environmental protection industry in 2021 was about 2.18 trillion yuan, an increase of about 11.8% over 2020. The operating income of the environmental protection industry accounted for 1.9% of the GDP and more than 3.2 million people were employed.

Environmental protection and climate change are high-priority policy issues for the Chinese Government. that the PRC government has said that the PRC will continue to enhance pollution prevention and control, through eliminating heavy air pollution, cleaning the black and smelly water bodies in cities, strengthening the prevention of soil contamination, enhance the construction of environmental infrastructure.

The PRC government is especially focused on controlling fine particulate matter and ozone pollution, cleaning up sewage outfalls into seas and rivers, enhancing urban household sewage collection capacity, treating wastewater from industrial parks, and preventing agricultural pollution. In addition, the PRC government is promoting eco-friendly packaging and household waste sorting and enhancing the collection and treatment of hazardous waste and medical waste.

Water Sector

China’s population accounts for 20% of the world’s population, while water resources only account for 7% of the world’s. Rapid urbanization and industrialization have created enormous challenges to China’s water quantity and quality. The Chinese government has set targets of reaching 95% for wastewater treatment for all county level cities and a 25% water reuse rate in the areas short of water. There is substantial demand in China for cleaning and recycling water technology.

Municipal Wastewater Treatment

Municipal wastewater treatment is relatively saturated. As of 2021, China’s water treatment plants treat wastewater for 98.1% of municipalities and 28% of rural areas.  China plans to build or renovate 80,000 km of sewage collection pipeline networks in the next few years. China’s policy support and investment focus will present opportunities in sewage pipeline maintenance, black and odorous water bodies treatment, and wastewater treatment facilities construction in 2nd and 3rd tier cities.

Industrial Wastewater Treatment

China discharged 55.7 billion cubic meters of wastewater in 2021, 28.7% of which originated from industrial sources. The industrial wastewater market in China is expected to reach $19.4 billion by 2025. The PRC plans to invest $50 billion in wastewater treatment for various heavy polluting industries, including textiles, printing, steel production, oil and gas extraction, coal mining, and pharmaceutical production.

Sludge Treatment

The PRC’s sludge volume could reach 90 million tons by 2025, according to the PRC’s National Development of Reform and Commission.  Experts estimate that between 2021 and 2025 China will invest around $8 billion to construct and install new sludge processing facilities. China’s sludge has low organic matter but possesses high silt and heavy metal content levels. The areas with the best market potential in this sub-sector include technologies for reducing water content in sludge, environment-friendly chemicals, high automation blending and injection equipment, and incineration technologies that are cost-effective and energy-efficient.

Solid Waste Sector

In Oct 2021, the PRC released the Action Plan for Reaching Carbon Dioxide Peak Before 2030, detailing how the country intends to fulfill its target of reaching peak carbon emissions by 2030 through a series of measures including promoting resource recycling and reducing solid waste. One focus of the plan is to strengthen the comprehensive use of bulk solid waste including coal gangue, coal fly ash, tailings, associated minerals, smelting slag, byproduct gypsum, construction refuse, and crop straw. The Chinese government will also promote incineration of household waste, bring down the proportion of waste disposed in landfills, and develop recycling technology that is tailored to the peculiarities of kitchen waste. China’s total production of nine major reusable resources including steel scrap, cooper, aluminum, lead, zinc, wastepaper, plastic, rubber, and recycled glass will top 450 million metric tons, reaching 510 million by 2030. The policy drive to improve solid waste management is still relatively new and China’s solid-waste management and disposal industry remains immature.  

Trade Events

  • IE Expo China-Shanghai
  • The China International Environmental Protection Exhibition & Conference-Beijing